You may not notice, but it won’t only be opening night for Dearly Departed when Little Theatre next takes to its stage Oct. 8.
Also premiering will be a newly acquired lighting console, which – over time – is going to make keeping the brightness, focus, hue and colours on stage easier to manage.
The big advantage to the new system - actually, the theatre bought a used ETC console for $5,000 – is it will allow the theatre to switch gradually to LED lighting, replacing the incandescent spotlights it now uses.
That will save money, allow the theatre to operate in a more environmentally friendly way, give the lighting designer more control over the kinds of effects he wants to achieve, and keep the actors from being roasted alive during performances.
One of the biggest differences between LED lights and conventional, is you can change the colours of LEDs direct from the console. With incandescent spotlights colour is achieved by putting gels over the lenses, which means they can only be changed manually.
A scene change, say from day to moonlight, or sunset, can be achieved using one LED instead of two or three conventional lamps.
With incandescent lighting, “You use a lot more fixtures than you would with LED,” Bruce Mason explained.
Actors are looking forward to the upgrade to LEDs. “As an actor, when you’re on set and you have all of those lights, it generates a lot of heat,” Bill Johnston, Little Theatre’s’ artistic director said.
LEDs generate almost no heat.
But it’s going to be a while before the full benefits of the new console will be realized. At $800 a pop – for a ‘cheap one’ – LED lights will have to be acquired one at a time, as budgets permit.
That said, the ability to begin the changeover is a big plus as far as Ladysmith Little Theatre is concerned. The future looks bright.